Queens Public Library in Elmhurst unveils new eco-friendly garden with support from National Grid

The new garden at Elmhurst Library on Broadway was unveiled to the public on May 22.
Photo courtesy of QPL

Officials from Queens Public Library were joined by National Grid benefactors on Wednesday afternoon to cut the ribbon on Elmhurst Library’s transformed garden. 

The community celebrated the beautification of the 1,800-square-foot space, which now has a habitat for butterflies, bees and other insects to live in harmony with the new plants and various flowers. 

“Our revitalized gardens are truly precious spaces where people can enjoy our resources and the outdoors at the same time,” said Queens Public Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott. “We are grateful to National Grid for their partnership and generous support to help us develop and maintain these oases that are open and accessible to all.”

Prior to the renovation, which was funded by a $140,000 grant from National Grid, the rear section of the library on Broadway was just a dry and weedy lawn.

In the past two years, the grant was also used to facilitate improvements at existing gardens at five other branches—Windsor Park, Langston Hughes, Ridgewood, East Elmhurst and Glendale branches. 

The grant stemmed from National Grid’s Project C, which focuses on supporting communities with long-lasting change in sustainability, social equity and neighborhood development. 

Officials from the Queens Public Library System and National Grid cut the ribbon on the new space. Photo courtesy of QPL

“We are thrilled to partner with the Queens Public Library to help preserve and sustain these beautiful gardens,” said Eileen Cifone, Director of Stakeholder Engagement for National Grid. “This initiative not only enhances the library grounds, but also provides invaluable spaces for Elmhurst community members to connect, learn and enjoy nature.”

In addition to the main garden at the Elmhurst branch, a new garden was also planted on the side of the library to enhance its street presence, along with two small gardens on opposite sides of the rear entrance. The branch also received a new irrigation system, a vermin-proof garden shed to replace an old wooden shed and new trash receptacles. 

At the Langston Hughes Library and Cultural Center on Northern Boulevard in Corona, the funding helped facilitate a major makeover. The courtyard went from having just a couple planters to a container garden with a colorful assortment of native perennial plants now maintained by a drip irrigation system. Smaller improvements included a paint job, new trash containers and maintenance of the shrubs and trees out in front. 

The newly beatified library gardens received colorful perennial plants. Photo courtesy of QPL

Over at the Windsor Park Library on Bell Boulevard in Hollis Hills, the funding was used to replace overgrown shrubs and a weedy lawn. In its place, a meadow of native shrubs and perennials were planted in the space between the library and a bus stop. 

The funding also paid for new irrigation systems at the Ridgewood branch on Madison Street and the East Elmhurst library on Astoria Boulevard that will sustain the new plantings. The Glendale Library on 73rd Place also received new plants and shrubs. 

Each of the gardens are now open to the public and will be continuously maintained by staff. The gardens at Elmhurst and East Elmhurst branches will be specifically maintained by corporate volunteer groups from Bloomberg and Bank of America.